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In a statement issued to coincide with the trade visit to China this week of its minister, Rachid Mohamed Rachid, Egypt's Ministry of Trade and Industry said that while trade between the two countries currently stands at about 2 bln usd, it should accelerate after the signing today of a series of agreements with Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai.
'We want Chinese investors to use Egypt as a manufacturing hub for the region, setting up factories in Egypt to take advantage of our central geographic location and our preferential trade agreements with Europe, Africa and the Middle East,' Rachid said in the statement.
The new agreements take in projects to be supported by government-to-government as well as private sector partnerships.
At the government level, they include setting up an international exhibition and fair ground worth 500 mln usd outside Cairo, a 15 mln usd allocation to create Egypt's first marble waste recycling plant using Chinese equipment, plus 20 mln usd to assist in the transfer of other Chinese technology to the Egyptian building materials and textile industries.
China and Egypt will also establish a Chinese industrial zone in Egypt to facilitate joint investments in Egyptian textiles, footwear and pharmaceutical industries, the statement said.
It said China's biggest state-owned construction company China National Chemical Engineering Corp (CNCEC) would help build the zone, but gave no financial details.
On a business-to-business level, China's largest industrial consortium CITIC is in talks to set up an aluminum production plant in Egypt with a start-up investment of about 100 mln usd.
Chinese and Egyptian companies also expect to jointly invest about 100 mln usd to set up an electric cable facility, and to establish an Egyptian cement production facility worth about 120 mln usd using Chinese technology, the statement added.
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